The Broadway Television Network (BTN) has announced that it will tape Frank Wildhorn’s Broadway musical, Jekyll and Hyde, on Dec. 23. The show is scheduled to close on Broadway Jan. 7. In addition to “preserving this production for future audiences” BTN said that the “longest-running show in the history of the Plymouth Theatre will air on cable and satellite pay-per-view channels worldwide in Spring 2001.”
Jekyll and Hyde stars David Hasselhoff (of “Baywatch” fame) and Coleen Sexton (Lucy), as well as Andrea Rivette (Emma), George Merritt (Mr. Utterson) and Barrie Ingham (Sir Danvers). Also featured are Martin Van Treuren and Corinne Melancon, with Juan Betancur, David Chaney, Sheri Cowart, Bill E. Dietrich, John Treacy Egan, Robert Jensen, Peter Johl, Stuart Marland, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Frank Mastrone, Kelli O'Hara, Joel Robertson, John Schiappa, Bonnie Schon, Sally Ann Tumas and Russell B. Warfield.
Although critically challenged at various times in its long life, Wildhorn’s Jekyll and Hyde has proven to be extremely popular with audiences. The show debuted at Houston's Alley Theatre, and built momentum as it moved to Broadway. Wildhorn’s wife, the singer Linda Eder, was the show’s original lead (Lucy).
Though Jekyll and Hyde closes on Broadway Jan. 7, BTN says it will tape before that date. BTN’s other two tapings, for the Sondheim revue, Putting It Together (scheduled to air in 2001) and the Leiber and Stoller revue, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (which aired last September and which re-airs in 2001) were both taped on closing nights. This “closing night taping” was touted as part of the BTN formula. In fact, with the announcement of the Dec. 23 Jekyll and Hyde taping, BTN has clearly broken out from the “closing night” model it was first publicizing to establish an even more definitive trend: Taping major Broadway productions that are based on the work of established composers and lyricists.
Jekyll and Hyde established Linda Eder’s career as a diva and was Frank Wildhorn’s long hoped for Broadway debut. His other two Broadway shows were The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War. Wildhorn just completed Eder’s popular Christmas CD and is working on her solo record before returning to his next theatrical project, the sprawling historical musical series comprising The Romantics. Jekyll and Hyde's popular songs include "Someone Like You" and "This Is the Moment." In a prepared statement, BTN cited the fact that the show’s songs have been covered by Johnny Mathis, Liza Minnelli and the Moody Blues. Current star David Hasselhoff will do “This Is the Moment” on his next record. Atlantic Records, where Wildhorn maintains his offices, reports that cast album sales for Jekyll and Hyde have reached 750,000 copies to date.
Conceived by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn, the book and lyrics for Jekyll and Hyde were written by Leslie Bricusse. Wildhorn composed the music. The show will be directed for television by Don Roy King with SFX Theatrical Group and FOX Theatricals as producers “in association with Jerry Frankel and The Landmark Entertainment Group.”
BTN reports that distribution is planned through iN DEMAND, DirecTV, Galaxy Latin America and Echo Star’s Dish Network, TVN/Cablevision, and in Canada, Viewer’s Choice and Bell ExpressVu.
—By Murdoch McBride